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Identifying Fallacies

This week’s lecture focused on applying some of the intellectual standards discussed in previous weeks and applying them to the news media. This week’s lecture also focused on the different fallacies that individuals make when trying to persuade you. Think of some of the disagreements or arguments you have had in the past – either at a personal, educational or professional level. Describe the disagreement or argument. What kinds of fallacies did you or they use as part of the argument? Was it persuasive? Did you feel good critical thinking was used in any of your examples?

Your work should be at least 500 words, but mostly draw from your own personal experience. This should be written in first person and give examples from your life. Be sure if you are using information from the readings that you properly cite your readings in this, and in all assignments.


There are several common fallacies in thinking. There are also fallacies in reasoning. As a student it is important that you identify fallacies but you identify bad reasoning. Fallacies can come from illogical pieces of information or from false information. You can use your knowledge of fallacies to help you use your critical thinking skills and to help you argue against points of view that do not make sense or are faulty.

Here are several common fallacies:

1.Circular reasoning: Using a statement (premise) to prove the conclusion and the conclusion to prove the statement (premise). Example: One should not take medication because it is against Scientology and one must follow Scientology because it is human nature.

2.Overgeneralization: asserting something of an entire class of things when it may not be true for all members of the class. Example: Beth is a psychology student and she is shy. Psychology students are shy.

3.False analogy: making a false or misleading analogy. Example

4.Jumping to conclusions. Example: My son is crying, you must have taken his toy.

5.Being unrealistic. Example: I just graduate high school and I am ready to enter the workforce. I will not take a job that pays less than six figures.

6.Answering questions one is not competent to answer. Example: I asked my dentist if he thought this mole was cancerous. He said “No” so I do not need to get it checked out.

7.Use only the information that supports my view point. Example: Research says a glass of wine a day is good for my heart. So drinking is good for my heart!

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